With the 66th pick in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins selected offensive tackle Morgan Moses, a Meadowbrook High School alum.
“It was a crazy wait, but I’m just happy to have the opportunity to have my name called, walk across the stage and put that hat on,” Moses stated.
Early draft projections had Moses, a 6-6 313 pound bearded behemoth of a lineman, going in the mid-to-late rounds of the draft. After a strong senior bowl and working to get himself into better shape, he shot up expert’s draft boards, as many suggested that Miami, Baltimore or Carolina would possibly be landing spots for the former Monarch, and maybe even in the first round.
“It’s nerves you’ll never get again,” explained Moses. “Just being able to get that phone call and have that number go across the screen; it’s a blessing, man,” he continued. “Words can’t even speak.”
When Moses was selected he remained seated for a moment, perhaps shedding a tear of joy before he walked across the stage to wear his new colors - burgundy and gold, sharing a long embrace with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
The road to the NFL draft was a long one for Moses, starting his playing career as a youth in Hening Association Football. The big guy initially made junior varsity as a freshman, but was called up to varsity the same season and started alongside Virginia Tech alum John Graves.
Meadowbrook head coach, Troy Taylor, estimated that Moses was 6-5 280 as a freshman, a reason to be excited for any high school coach – they simply don’t come that big very often.
“He had D-1 size as a freshman and wasn’t a project,” explained Taylor. “He was already a great player as a youth and was well coached at Hening by current Thomas Dale assistant Rick Greene.”
While Moses excelled on the field, initially things didn’t come as smoothly in the classroom. Academics were something that Moses had to work at to succeed.
“Some things didn’t go so well at Meadowbrook,” explained Moses. “But I continued to work hard and focused on the big picture.”
Despite the challenges with academics in high school, and not qualifying outright for NCAA sports, Moses attended Fork Union Military Academy to gain eligibility, and with his size could have essentially picked any school- but instead, he picked one of the most academically rigorous colleges in the United States, the University of Virginia, which initially raised some eyebrows.
“When people doubted me, I always worked harder,” explained Moses. “I always knew I could prove people wrong, and now I feel like I proved the world wrong.”
As a kid Moses knew he wanted to play in the NFL, but another goal that manifested itself later was to graduate from the University of Virginia. He’ll walk across a second stage on May 18 – to graduate with a degree in Anthropology.
Moses silenced doubters in the field of academics, but he also struggled with his weight fluctuating throughout college – and it was something he had to work at, getting as high as the 350s. For the draft, he worked down to 313 pounds.
“My support is huge from all over the place,” Moses stated. “Family members, Fork Union and the UVA area.”
Where Morgan will fit in the NFL remains to be seen, but he’ll be close to home for training camp as the Redskins enter year two in their new facility in Richmond. Parents Marion Graves and Morris Moses, still local to the area, will be able to attend. A large number of Meadowbrook alum, former and currently players are excited at the opportunity to watch the big man do his work.
“He is the flagship to our program,” said Taylor. “Kids see what he accomplished and are inspired to do the same.”
The All-American and All-ACC honoree joins the ranks of Dion Foxx, who appeared in a handful of games for Miami and Washington in 1994 and 1995 and Brandian Ross, who started at strong safety last year for the Oakland Raiders in the NFL.
Moses will have the benefit of learning tackle from one of the best in the business- Pro Bowl Left Tackle Trent Williams, working alongside him, the former Monarch will work to improve an offensive line tasked with protecting quarterback Robert Griffin III and opening running lanes for standout running back Alfred Morris.
The next countdown is on with late July being the target as Moses will hit the field for Redskins training camp right here in the Old Dominion. Follow Moses’ journey on twitter @MORGANMOSES_78 and follow his beard @Nourishthebeard.